HC Deb 15 June 1999 vol 333 cc107-8W
Mr. Steen

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security for (1) what reasons Disability Living Allowance was removed from Brenda Oakham of Barton Close, Paignton, in April; and for what reason no explanation was given; [86428]

(2) if he will arrange to expedite the Disability Living Allowance review in relation to Brenda Oakham of Barton Close, Paignton. [86429]

Mr. Bayley

The administration of Disability Living Allowance is a matter for Mr. Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Anthony Steen, dated 14 June 1999: The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions. You asked why Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was removed from Mrs Brenda Oakham, in April. why no explanation was given, and that the DLA review in relation to Mrs Oakham's case be expedited. It may help if I explain that entitlement to DLA does not depend on the diagnosis of a condition but on the way in which that condition affects a person on a day-to-day basis. Decisions are made by adjudication officers (AOs) who are statutory office holders. It would be improper of me to comment on, or interfere in, their decisions. I can confirm that, although an award of DLA may be given for life, an AO may reduce or revoke an entitlement decision if information is received which indicates that a person's entitlement may have changed. Mrs Oakham's entitlement was examined as part of the work of the Benefit Integrity Project. With the help of a visiting officer Mrs Oakham completed a questionnaire on 21 October 1998 giving details of her current care and mobility needs. In addition, a report was obtained from Mrs Oakham's General Practitioner. A report was also completed by a Medical Services doctor who examined Mrs Oakham on 15 February 1999. Following a thorough consideration of all the evidence about her current needs, an AO decided on 10 March 1999 that Mrs Oakham no longer satisfied the conditions for entitlement to either component of DLA from 15 February 1999. This decision, which included an explanation of the reasons for the decision, was issued to Mrs Oakham on 28 April. Your letter to me dated 5 May was accepted as a request for a review of that decision. On 9 June, a different AO considered all the evidence, including additional evidence submitted with your letter. The revised decision is that Mrs Oakham is entitled to the lower rate mobility component from 15 February 1999 and the highest rate care component from 31 May 1996. The decision was issued to Mrs Oakham on 11 June. This includes a full explanation of the reasons for the decision and details of her right of appeal to an independent Disability Appeal Tribunal, if she is unhappy with the outcome. I hope you find this reply helpful.